A Wasted 9.99$ Train Ticket And a Few More Life-Changing Lessons.

We can’t learn from the mistakes we didn’t make.

George Blue Kelly
4 min readFeb 23, 2022


Photo by Mitch Rosen on Unsplash

There’s an unused 9.99$ train ticket I keep in my wallet as a reminder of my carelessness. Now, 9.99$ isn’t much, but the lesson it holds is.

They say there are two ways we can treat the past, either as a rod to beat ourselves or as a classroom, to better ourselves.

The wasted 9.99$ train ticket is my classroom. I keep it to remind myself to think things through before committing.

Looking back this past year there’re a few lessons I’ve picked up and just like the wasted 9.99$ train ticket, these are some of those lessons from the classroom of 2021.

Life will always go on.

A gruesome motor-bicycle accident claimed the life of my boss’s brother last summer. A good man in his fifties, with two children and a wife. He was just having a bicycle ride in a cool evening when he was bulldozered by a drunk driver. He died two weeks later in the hospital.

As we stepped out of the san Lorenzo Cathedrale, and the procession walk to the cemetery commenced, my boss instructed me and my colleagues to open up the restaurant and get to work.

It reminded me of the loss of my father. While my world fell apart others went about their business as if nothing happened. It’s a lesson that’s stayed with me since — that life goes on.

We only count for as long as we’re around.

Don’t take things too seriously.

Not long ago I went mental trying to get my residence. For over six years I lived in Italy with no papers. I made some mistakes for which I hated myself.

“I should have written a better story,” I thought. “Who gets away with telling the truth?” I beat myself up for being honest in my interview.

However, two days ago I strolled into the Carta D’Identita office in my little Castelvetrano town and strolled out with my Italian residence document.

It’s taken some years, work, and help from friends, but here we are.



George Blue Kelly

True stories of an immigrant from the shores of Sicily